Extremely templed out, I headed from Siem Reap south to the beach to meet up with some friends from Vietnam. The main beach area in Cambodia is Sihanoukville, where all there is to do is laze and party- and boy did I do both.
The hostel that my friends booked into was holding a Mardi Gras party on the first night I arrived. Instant party. Wandering round the beach before night fell, we saw boys in salons getting their hair and make-up done as women. It was quite a surreal sight. The party itself was fantastic, everyone made an effort and the drink and fun flowed. The dancing and drinking continued until the sun rose and at 7 am I dragged myself to bed! In fact that was the way it stayed for the next few days.
We did manage to make it a remote, almost deserted island nearby. A group of 17 took a small rocky boat over to Bamboo Island. Given the drinking of the last two nights, quite a few of the group were green gilled and had to dash to the toilet as soon as the boat hit the island. We were shown to basic beach shacks which would do the job they needed before heading to the bar area to continue the fun.
Every day in Sihanoukville there was rain, and being on a remote island is no exception. The heavens opened restricting us to the bar. Shame. The electricity on the island went off about 11pm meaning the evening was enjoyed by candlelight. Drinking games ensued including truth or dare. The less said about this the better! About 3 or 4 am we decided to light a fire on the beach ready for the sun rise. The rains had stopped but meant all firewood was drenched. Darren and I determined to get a fire going, hunted under beach shacks for whatever we could find. In the end the only solution was setting fire to a coconut shell and building it from there. Very proudly and after many attempts, we did get the fire going and so leaving it to burn we went for a swim. As it was so dark all the planton were shining luminously causing a magical effect whenever you moved in the water. It was magical.
The next day brought us back to the main land, where upon entering our room we discovered we had been burgled. As we were going to an island we had sensibly left valuables in a locked safety deposit box in our room. Somehow, someone had got the key to the room, broke into the box, took mobile phones and cash (leaving passports and credit cards thank god) before locking the box and room back up. Luckily I only lost my mobile and $20. Others in my room came much worse off. As there was no forcible sign of entry it was hard to get the hostel and security to understand what had happened and take interest. We had to deal with the immigration police (as we were foreigners) who would not issue a report unless an investigation was held and it went to court. As we did not have time for this, we had to come to an agreement with the hostel. The hostel though wanted the security guards to take responsibility and because the room had not been forcibly broken into they would not take this on! It went round and round. We had to visit the police station and discuss long and hard a solution. Finally the hostel agreed to pay but they were not happy about it. The police then decided to become involved and made us sign many statements agreeing to what had occurred and the agreement we had come to with the hostel. This included taking many fingerprints and a picture!
Theft aside, Sihanoukville was fun. We also went to the local casinos, were food and drink was free. The roulette table being my favourite, I came away happily $20 heavier- replacing what was stolen! Yey!!